ABU DHABI — Dr. Sultan Bin Ahmed Al Jaber, UAE’s special envoy for climate change and minister of industry and advanced technology, met his counterparts in London for high-level talks ahead of November’s COP26 climate change summit in the UK.
During the ministerial gathering, which included ministers from 40 countries, and in meetings with UK officials and business leaders on the sidelines, Dr. Al Jaber took the opportunity to advance the UAE’s progressive agenda on climate action tied to economic growth.
Dr. Al Jaber said: “Our leadership firmly believes that proactive climate action is a powerful engine of economic growth. In line with this vision, the UAE has always been a regional leader, as the first the first country in the region to sign and ratify the Paris Agreement and the first in the region set an economy-wide reduction in emissions by 2030, as part of our second nationally determined contribution (NDC).
“We are keen to partner with the rest of the world to share best practices, technology and innovation, ensuring we fast track efforts to mitigate and adapt to climate change in ways that deliver real and substantial social and economic benefits.”
The London meeting was aimed at achieving consensus and building momentum on several topics to be addressed at COP26, including mitigation, adaptation and climate finance.
At the meeting, Dr. Al Jaber discussed global efforts to enhance climate change resilience and adaptability, as well as efforts to leverage clean technologies to enhance global growth. In particular he referenced the Agriculture Innovation Mission for Climate (AIM-C) initiative, announced at the Leaders Summit on Climate in Washington last April.
AIM for Climate, of which the UAE is a founding member, alongside the United States, aims to significantly increase innovation and R&D spending on agri-tech initiatives aimed at enhancing food and water security, reducing emissions from agriculture and providing new climate friendly industries.
He also reaffirmed the UAE’s offer to host COP28 in 2023, underlining the UAE’s commitment to a consultative multilateral process aimed at speeding consensus. In May, the country announced its bid to host the 28th Session of the Conference of the Parties (COP28) to the UNFCCC in Abu Dhabi in 2023.
The move received a positive response worldwide given the UAE’s track record on clean tech innovation and the country’s considerable expertise as a global climate action convener. He also noted that the UAE would ensure that COP 28 is a springboard for progressive climate action that delivers both social and economic dividends.
On the sidelines of the ministerial, Dr. Al Jaber held bilateral meetings with COP 26 President Alok Sharma, US Special Presidential Envoy for Climate John Kerry, United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change Executive Secretary Patricia Espinosa, Md. Shahab Uddin, MP, minister of environment, forest and climate change, Bangladesh and Jong-Moon Choi, vice foreign affairs minister of the Republic of Korea, in which he highlighted the UAE’s keenness to partner for progress, leverage climate action for economic opportunity and play a constructive role through multilateral cooperation within all relevant international forums, including the UNFCCC.
During his visit, Dr. Al Jaber also met with, Anne-Marie Trevelyan, minister for business, energy, clean growth, Lord Grimstone, minister of investment and Bernard Looney CEO of BP, where he stressed the UAE’s commitment to leverage UK-UAE partnerships across the public and private sectors to invest in innovation that can achieve climate goals, along with sustainable growth.
Dr. Al Jaber commented that the UAE’s approach to climate action is closely tied to its economic development: “The UAE’s track record and future ambitions in climate action perfectly align with the country’s plans to diversify and build a knowledge-based economy, spur sustainable development across key sectors and bring socio-economic benefits to our country while influencing progress regionally and internationally.”
The UAE has already built a strong foundation of energy and economic diversification that the country will build on. The country has repeatedly broken the world record for the lowest cost of solar energy generation and is home to three of the world’s largest and most cost-efficient solar power plants.
Furthermore, it is the first country in the region to use carbon-free nuclear energy, and a regional pioneer in industrial-scale carbon capture, utilization, and storage (CCUS). In addition, the UAE is exploring blue and green hydrogen projects, leveraging its existing resource base and expertise in gas production, supply chain infrastructure and transportation. — SG